COVID-19 outbreak at Sarnia Jail continues to grow

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An Ontario jail cell from the Ontario Ombudsmen report The Code , June 2013

Forty-six inmates and five staff COVID-19 positive

There have been six new cases of COVID-19 linked to the Sarnia Jail outbreak over the weekend.

Lambton Public Health reports Monday 46 inmates and five staff members have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began Feb. 7.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sudit Ranade, has said public health has been working with Corrections Ontario on the outbreak, however because there are no walls – only steel bars – and close quarters, it is difficult to reduce the spread of the virus.

At last word, the population of the jail had been reduced to less than half of its capacity with just 49 people in the jail built for 101 inmates. The inmates are also wearing masks when moving from their cells to other parts of the building.

At least one person has been sentenced to probation instead of a jail sentence because a Sarnia justice concluded it would be risky for the offender’s health considering the outbreak.

Monday, eight new cases of COVID-19 were reported.

Over the weekend, there were 25 more people diagnosed with COVID-19. The community also topped 2,000 total COVID-19 cases Saturday.

There are now 98 people ill in Lambton. There was also one more outbreak at Twin Lakes Terrace Retirement Home where one staff member has tested positive for the virus.

The number of cases in Lambton has climbed in the past week. Early in the week, many of the new cases were part of an outbreak at the Sarnia Jail, but on both Thursday and Friday, the new cases were not from current outbreaks.

There are more restrictions in Lambton County this morning as we move into the Red-Restrict Zone of the pandemic reopening framework because of the rising number of cases.

The number of people able to gather in one place is now at five instead of 10.

Restaurants and bars are only be able to have 10 people inside at one time with four to a table. Alcohol will be served until 9 pm and the restaurant or bar has to close by 10 pm.

Retail stores will also have to limit capacity to 50 per cent of the stores. Grocery stores will have 75 per cent capacity. Movie theaters and performing arts centers are closed.